Ray tracing is all the rage, but Cyberpunk 2077 could help make path tracing a viable gaming PC feature. Although you need one of the best graphics card options to get the most out of the rendering technique, CD Projekt Red says it’s working with Nvidia to make the method a general setting.

To try to find out more about Cyberpunk 2077 route tracking, – Game News spoke at GDC 2023 with Jakub ‘Kuba’ Knapik, Global Art Director and Vice President of Art at CDPR. Outlining the publisher’s ambitions, Kuba revealed that the technology will be used to improve releases like the Phantom Liberty expansion, but it won’t rejuvenate catalog favorites like The Witcher 3.

At this point, you might be wondering, “What is route tracking?” Well, Kuba envisions it as “cinematic representation” as it has been used in film production for over a decade. If you’ve ever been mesmerized by the 3D visuals of a recent Pixar film, you probably have it to thank, delivering that sense of immersive depth that helps Disney Studios animations pop.

Of course, Kuba says the feature requires “very powerful” PC hardware right now, so you’ll need a GPU like the one tested in our Nvidia RTX 4090 review to take advantage of routing in 2023. Even if you’re using the best PC version for gaming, the art director says AI tools like Nvidia DLSS 3 and Frame Generation will provide the “extra headroom” needed to boost fps and performance.

In a sense, CDPR could be a pioneer in path tracing, helping to advance the rendering technique on consumer platforms. Although the feature is technically compatible with all graphics cards, the developer is working with Nvidia to make it an affordable ray tracing successor. The GPU giant has already teased the tech with its Portal RTX revamp, but its inclusion in the upcoming Phantom Liberty expansion is arguably a big step forward that will show what it can offer the PC gaming scene.

We’ll have to wait for Cyberpunk 2077 RT: Overdrive’s new mode setting to pass our own judgement, but Kuba insists the Phantom Liberty looks amazing with path following. We’ll likely see it improve images for other CDPR releases in the future, but the developer is still working on adding it to Unreal Engine 5 projects.

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